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Bone Marrow Tests FAQs

blood sample

Q. Is there a blood test to detect cancer?

Ans. Blood test is the preliminary test conducted to find out any abnormal condition in the blood. Blood cancer may be detected by a common blood test called complete blood count (CBC) that measures the various types of blood cells and their count in the blood.

If any abnormality in the cells average level is found, bone marrow biopsy helps confirm a diagnosis of a blood cancer.

Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation (PBSCT) are procedures that restore stem cells that have been destroyed by high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

Q. What are the main tests done for bone marrow inspection?

Ans. There are 2 main tests done separately or together as per the need to diagnose disease in the bone marrow stem cells

1) Bone Marrow Aspiration
2) Bone Marrow (Trephine) Biopsy

Q. What is a Jamshidi needle?

Ans. The Jamshidi needle is the standard instrument used for bone marrow biopsy. It usually involves both bone marrow blood aspiration and trephine biopsy.

This needle is used to perform bone marrow biopsy, whereby a cylindrical sample of tissue, a core biopsy specimen is obtained. It is a cylindrical needle with a tapered cutting tip.

Q. What is the process of bone marrow aspiration?

Ans. Bone marrow aspiration is a procedure that involves taking a small amount of bone marrow fluid as sample through a needle from the soft tissue inside the bones.

After the skin is numbed, the needle is inserted into the bone, and a syringe is used to withdraw the liquid bone marrow.

Q. What is the process of bone marrow (trephine) biopsy?

Ans. A bone biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of bone (normally 1 or 2 cm) is taken from the body and examined under a microscope for cancer, infection or other bone disorders.

The sample of bone marrow can be extracted by inserting a needle through the skin and directly into the bone (closed or needle biopsy).

Q. Which bone is used for bone marrow biopsy?

Ans. A bone marrow biopsy is often done using a pelvic bone, but another bone (such as the breastbone) and in a child’s case, a leg or spine (vertebra) bone may also be used.

Q. Are bone marrow biopsy or aspiration procedures painful?

Ans. In both, biopsy and aspiration process, site to extract bone marrow sample is marked and numbed to reduce pain by giving local anaesthesia. Local anaesthesia refers where only the particular part of the body is made insensitive for certain time but the person will be awake.

Q. How long does it take to do a bone marrow biopsy?

Ans. The bone marrow sample is extracted within 10 minutes. However preparation for the same requires an extra time and if the person received intravenous (IV) sedation, post-procedure care is also given. However a maximum of 30 minutes are required for the whole procedure.

Q. How long does it take to get results from a biopsy?

Ans. Once the biopsy is complete, a specially trained doctor (pathologist) examines the tissue or fluid samples under a microscope, looking for abnormal or cancerous cells. The diagnose report with all details is usually prepared in a week’s time.

Q. Can there be any complication after bone marrow biopsy?

Ans. Any serious health issue is rare after bone marrow biopsy is done but a person may experience some of the following after effects:

  • Excessive bleeding, particularly in people with low numbers of a certain type of blood cell (platelets)
  • Infection, especially in people with weakened immune systems.
  • Long-lasting discomfort or pain at the biopsy site.



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